Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • NNSA finishes W80-1 alteration

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has completed the First Production Unit (FPU) of the W80-1 Alteration (Alt) 369. This accomplishment is an important step toward maintaining nuclear capabilities that will help deter attacks on the United States and its allies.
    “The dedicated team at Pantex went above and beyond to complete this milestone before fiscal year 2017 came to a close,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Lutton, NNSA’s principal assistant deputy administrator for military application. “NNSA can now successfully kick off fiscal year 2018 by entering full production for the W80-1 Alt 369. Such modernization efforts are key to maintaining the safety, security, and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.”
    The W80-1, a warhead carried by the air-launched cruise missile, was first introduced to the stockpile in 1982. An alteration is a change to a component that does not alter the weapon’s operational capability.
    The Alt 369 replaces Limited Life Components in the warhead.

  • Study forecasts disappearance of conifers due to climate change

    A new study, led by Los Alamos National Laboratory, suggests that widespread loss of a major forest type, the pine-juniper woodlands of the Southwestern U.S., could be wiped out by the end of this century due to climate change, and that conifers throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere may be on a similar trajectory.
    “We have been uncertain about how big the risk of tree mortality was, but our ensemble of analyses — including experimental results, mechanistic regional models and more general global models— all show alarming rates of forest loss in coming decades,” said Los Alamos forest ecologist Nate McDowell, first author on the paper. “Given the recent climate talks in Paris and their focus on protecting forests, especially from deforestation, our results provide extra incentive to protect forests from the warming itself, which requires reducing emissions.”

  • RLUOB team gets award from DOE

    The Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building (RLUOB) Transition Team at Los Alamos National Laboratory received the U.S. Department of Energy Secretary’s Achievement Award for its teamwork and performance.
    LANL made an announcement of the award Tuesday.
    “What the National Nuclear Security Administration achieved with its contract partner on the RLUOB/REI Project is our goal — safe, high-quality, state-of-the-art facilities that provide a great value to the taxpayer,” said NNSA Associate Administrator for Acquisition and Project Management Bob Raines. “The NNSA and the RLUOB/REI Project team demonstrated that final metrics of cost and schedule can be achieved when clear expectations are set, the federal and contractor site and headquarters teams are aligned and all parties accept accountability for their role in project delivery.”
    LANL Director Charlie McMillan presented the RLUOB Transition Team with the award Aug. 28. The team consisted of Brett Cederdahl, David Gallimore, Tim Leckbee, Mark Myatt, Tim Nelson, Michael Parkes, Denise Thronas, Scott Warnock and Amy Wong.

  • Violation notice is sent to LANL

    The National Nuclear Security Administration is taking a long, hard look at problems at Los Alamos National Laboratory, according to a letter from Frank Klotz to the lab dated Aug. 25.
    According to the letter, that was addressed to LANL director Charlie McMillian, the NNSA “considers the programmatic deficiencies in the LANS nuclear criticality safety program to be of high safety significance.” LANS is the contractor that manages the lab.
    Along with the letter to LANL, Klotz, who heads the NNSA, said LANL is receiving a Preliminary Notice of Violation (PNOV), which cited one severity level one violation and five severity level two violations. The violations come with a proposed base civil penalty, before mitigation, of $560,000.
    According to the PNOV, the Department of Energy conducted an investigation into deficiencies at the Plutonium Facility (PF-4) at Technical Area 55. Safety violations were first identified 10 years ago — prior to the award of the management contract to LANS — and continued as late as 2013.
    Among the violations cited included LANS’ failure to “develop adequate procedures and properly implement procedures,” train personnel properly and identify deficiencies that needed to be corrected at the facility.

  • Regional coalition approves letter

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities approved a letter to be sent to Dr. Monica C. Regalbuto, the newly appointed Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management (EM) in the Department of Energy (DOE), at its monthly board meeting earlier this month.
    The letter was a formal request that EM release information pertaining to the Life Cycle Baseline Cost stating the start-to-finish scope of work, including funding requirement, timeline of work and risk of each site, for cleaning up the legacy waste at LANL.
    The meeting was held Aug. 14 in the Santa Fe County Council Chambers.
    Regional Coalition members traveled to Washington, D.C., in February to request cleanup funding for FY16 in order to conduct an operation to reach desired cleanup results at EM sites.
    Following that trip, as well as other discussions with various appropriations staff members and Congressional officials, coalition members have been told that without a Life Cycle Baseline Cost they cannot properly defend their monetary requests for cleanup.

  • Parks touts plans in podcast

    A Community Connections podcast episode that features the new CEO of the LANL Foundation, Jenny Parks, has just been released by the Los Alamos National Laboratory Community Programs Office.
    In the podcast, Parks discusses her diverse professional background and the Foundation’s plans for the future with Carole Rutten, deputy director of community programs.
    Parks joined the Foundation as CEO in January after serving as CEO of the New Mexico Community Foundation.
    The LANL Foundation was established in 1997 through an allocation from LANL, along with congressional appropriation through the Department of Energy. The primary mission of the Foundation is to support the educational needs of children in the public schools in the vicinity of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Today, they are serving this mission by focusing on three areas: early childhood education, inquiry science and scholarships.
    “These scholarships are really changing lives,” Parks said. “We now have scholarships available for all ages, along with the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund which has granted more than 1,000 scholarships to date.”
    According to Parks, plans are underway to expand its Firstborn program that the foundation manages into a statewide program that can operate autonomously.

  • Initiatives will try to spur on clean energy

    On Monday, President Barack Obama announced more than $1 billion in Department of Energy initiatives to drive innovation and accelerate the clean energy economy.
    As part of the President’s Clean Power Plan, DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) is making up to $1 billion in loan guarantees available to support commercial-scale distributed energy projects, such as rooftop solar with storage and smart grid technology.
    In addition, through the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), DOE is awarding $24 million in funding for 11 high-performance solar power projects that the government believes can serve lower the cost and improve the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems.
    According to the DOE, “these initiatives will spur innovation, ensure grid reliability and help ensure America’s low-carbon energy future.”

  • July was wet, cool in county

    The wet spring and summer, that started in May, continued all the way through July, according to researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Rainfall was well above average in July according to the lab’s measurements. In Los Alamos, average rainfall was nearly double what happens during the month, with the townsite recording 6.68 inches.
    At least one weather record, that has stood for 44 years, was broken on July 20, when Los Alamos received 1.44 inches of rain, far and away the most it had ever gotten on that particular day — the previous record was .95 inches set in 1971.
    LANL said that through the month Los Alamos has received nearly 15.5 inches of rain this year, which is the most total rainfall since 1949 and more than 5.5 inches above normal.
    David Bruggerman, a meteorologist with LANL, said the Climate Prediction Center is expecting above-average rainfall through October.
    Neither Los Alamos nor White Rock were as warm last month, however, breaking a trend of warm weather seen in June.
    In the first half of July, the mean maximum temperature was 3.1 degrees below average and White Rock was 4.4 degrees below average.
    Lower temperatures were also expected by the Climate Prediction Center through the rest of the summer and early fall.

  • U.S. gets $5.9M in settlement

    The United States Department of Justice announced earlier this week that PC Specialists Inc., doing business as Technology Integration Group (TIG), has agreed to pay the United States $5.9 million to settle allegations that the company inflated the price of computers sold through another company to the National Nuclear Security Administration.
    The computers in question were for use at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.
    According to the DOJ, from 2003-2013, TIG sold Dell computers to Sandia Corporation for resale to the United States under Sandia’s contract with the NNSA.
    The United States alleged that TIG knowingly inflated the amounts it charged Sandia by failing to give credits for rebates and discounts it received from Dell as required by its contract and causing false claims to the government for the inflated prices.
    TIG, headquartered in San Diego, buys computers and other technology products for resale to other purchasers.

  • Keith to oversee LANL's Community Programs office

    Regional Development Corporation (RDC) Executive Director Kathy Keith has been selected as the incoming Director of Community Programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Keith has served as executive director of the RDC for more than four years, joining the organization in January 2011.
    She will join LANL’S Communications and Public Affairs Division starting Aug. 17.

    "We are pleased to have someone with Kathy's experience and skills lead the Laboratory's community programs," said Matthew Nerzig, acting director for CPA. "Her knowledge of northern New Mexico, familiarity with the issues confronting the communities in this region, and track record of working with key leaders make her a valuable addition to the Lab's community outreach efforts."

    At the RDC, Keith was credited with helping to establish a Business Expansion and Retention Program, the Northern New Mexico 20/20 Campaign and the Native American Venture Acceleration Fund. Each of these programs were designed to help northern New Mexico companies grow and create more jobs for the region.